Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.


Wax And Wane

Those hearing Garlands for the first time who only know the bands other material will likely be more than a little surprised. Whereas the typical vision of the Twins is of beautiful washes of sounds and exultant vocals from Fraser, on Garlands the original trio is still only part of the way there. Instead, the best comparison points are to Siouxsie And The Banshees, the Cure on Faith and Pornography, perhaps Metal Box-era PiL, a touch of Joy Division here and there; in sum, deep, heavy mood verging on doom and gloom. Bassist Will Heggie, in the only full album he did with the Twins, clearly follows the Peter Hook/Simon Gallup style of low, ominous throb, while Guthrie's guitar work more often than not screeches loudly than shimmers. Fraser's singing has a starker edge, unsettling even at its most accessible, sometimes completely disturbing at other times. The strongest track, "Wax and Wane," has the trio creating a powerful but also surprisingly danceable track, the crisp drum machine beat working against Guthrie's compelling atmospherics and Fraser's vocal hook in the chorus.

The thing about the Cocteau Twins that interests me the most is how much their sound changed in a manner of only two years. "Treasure" was released 1984, often considered their magnum opus along with "Heaven or Las Vegas". The sound of "Garlands" differs almost completely from that of "Treasure". Garlands is much more subdued, darker and mid-tempo than Treasure yet it is by far inferior to Treasure. The sound of Garlands also is post-punk and new-wave(ish) while Treasure is their first true album in which they mastered the dream pop sound that the band is so well-known for. Garlands is not a bad album by no means, it is just different.

Garlands really is a post-punk album, noticed right off the bat on the song "Blood Bitch". The sound is subdued and trippy, pretty much the overall sound of the album is like this. However, what can be noticed right away is the influences. While it is unfair to say Cocteau Twins ripped off the sound of Siouxsie And The Banshees and The Cure, it is so similar to the sound of both of these bands. The thing is Post-Punk is not a genre known for variation. A lot of bands sound similar to each other, the big four of Proto-Goth (Bauhaus, The Cure, The Banshees, and Joy Division) all sound rather similar on their first albums. "Blood Bitch" is more of like a subdued down-tempo version of Kaleidoscope era Siouxsie mixed with a hint of The Cure Faith era, sprinkle in some Bauhaus and you have the main influences of "Blood Bitch". "Blood Bitch" is what the album mostly sounds like, the distorted guitars, the drum machine, the Siouxsie influenced Elizabeth Fraser singing in tongues is the only thing that differs this band from the average post-punk band.

“Wax and Wane” is the most well-known song off of this album. The song is more up-tempo compared to that of Blood Bitch or even the rest of the album. The lotus-like sound of the catchy guitar line in the song, the catchy chorus in the song, everything is catchy about this song. The most poppy song off of this post-punk album is Wax and Wane compared to the hit or miss of the second side of Garlands. If anything, Wax and Wane is the reason to buy this album.

Ripped [here] from the long deleted 1987 remastered and expanded CD to MP3 @ 320kbps. Also included [here] are two singles from the same era.

Cocteau Twins; Garlands

        01. Blood Bitch
        02. Wax And Wane
        03. But I’m Not
        04. Blind Dumb Deaf
        05. Shallow Then Halo
        06. The Hollow Men
        07. Garlands
        08. Grail Overfloweth
        09. Dear Heart (Peel Session)
        10. Hazel (Peel Session)
        11. Hearsay Please (Peel Session)
        12. Blind Dumb Deaf (Peel Session)
        13. Speak No Evil
        14. Perhaps Some Other Aeon

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